Reply To: Contemporary music in the chorus classroom
My approach with my middle school choruses has been to save the contemporary music until the second half of the year. Fall semester, I am emphasizing vocal technique, musicianship, sight-singing skills, etc., and so keep most of the repertoire “legit.” We have our performance assessment in March; after that, we will concentrate on what the kids call the “fun” music. Our spring concert is primarily contemporary music–and I get some of my friends to back up the choruses with live keyboard, guitar, bass and drums. That doesn’t mean that we don’t do any light or contemporary music before that. If we have a performance in the community with a venue/audience where that type of music is appropriate, we’ll include it.
I agree that it’s important to include contemporary music if you are performing before a student group where you are trying to recruit, but I’m very careful to mix up the repertoire in that situation. If that’s all you perform, students come into your program expecting that to be the norm.